the same thing happened maybe 6 months ago in the phoenix metro area. arizona police accused a mesa community college student of making the deadly poison ricin, and the local arizona labs identified it as ricin. a hazmat team of up to 50 cops and firefighters detoxed his apartment. and then a few days later the cops said "opps - it wasnt ricin after all - it was a harmless chemical". hey what the heck. the cops have to scare the shit out of the public to create a jobs program for highly paid but otherwise useless cops. the idiots at the FBI said they did the "right thing" of course it is "their" jobs program

Feb. 27, 2006, 9:17AM Substance found at UT is not ricin Investigators unsure what the powder is, but say it doesn't pose a health hazard

By MIKE GLENN Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Mystery powder not ricin

A powdery substance found in a roll of quarters by a University of Texas student while doing laundry in her dormitory is not the deadly toxin ricin, FBI officials said Sunday.

"We're relieved. My mood is elated," UT spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said, shortly after receiving the campus all-clear signal.

Investigators still don't know what the powder is, but said final tests completed Sunday at a military base in Maryland show the substance discovered Thursday by Pearland resident Kelly Heinbaugh does not pose a health hazard.

"They did tell us it was nothing related to anything dangerous or biological or anything that could hurt anybody," FBI Special Agent Rene Salinas said.

Ricin is a highly potent poison made from the wastes left over after castor beans are processed to make castor oil.

Heinbaugh, who returned home after making the discovery, was later tested at Memorial Hermann Hospital as an extra precaution, Houston FBI officials said.

Heinbaugh could not be reached for comment Sunday.

On Saturday, Heinbaugh told the Associated Press that she had called her mother, who told her to wash her hands and tell the dormitory manager. The manager called the university police, and environmental health and safety crews cleaned and sanitized the areas.

About 400 students were evacuated late Friday after an initial test done on the powder found inside UT's Moore-Hill Dormitory came back positive for ricin or a similar substance. The students were kept out while decontamination teams in protective suits and oxygen masks cleaned the affected rooms.

"We had them leave again (Saturday) just to get that last bit of evidence out of there," Weldon said.

The early field testing performed by state health officials, however, could not check for the presence of proteins that would indicate if the powder was the deadly poison, said Salinas, with the FBI's San Antonio office.

FBI agents took custody of the sample Saturday and sent it to Fort Detrick, Md., home of the nation's Interagency Biomedical Research Confederation. Within a day, scientists at the Army base determined it was not ricin or any other dangerous material.

Though the alert prompted the evacuation of the large dormitory, UT officials are standing by the decision.

"I wouldn't think that the university or any of the agencies involved would regret taking the steps they took," Weldon said.

FBI officials said Heinbaugh also made the right call when she reported the substance.

"We're glad she acted the way she did," Salinas said. "It's always better to err on the side of caution."

It was unclear what the next stage of the investigation would be, Salinas said. "I'll have to wait until (Monday) to find that out."

FBI: Powder found in Texas dorm not ricin

Associated Press Feb. 27, 2006 12:00 AM

AUSTIN - The FBI determined that a powdery substance found in a roll of quarters at a University of Texas dormitory was not ricin after initial state tests had indicated it was the potentially deadly poison, a spokesman said Sunday.

The FBI tests did not identify the substance, but they came back negative for the poison that is extracted from castor beans, San Antonio FBI spokesman Rene Salinas said.

"There were no proteins in there to indicate it was in fact ricin," Salinas said. He said it was unlikely that further testing would be done.

Texas health officials did "just a quick test and they don't check for the proteins in ricin," Salinas said.

The mystery powder spilled onto Kelly Heinbaugh's hands as she unwrapped a roll of quarters in her dorm room Thursday. She said she had used five other rolls of quarters her mother had gotten from the same bank and none had powder in them.

The 19-year-old freshman and her roommate were evaluated for possible exposure to ricin and cleared at a hospital.

Roughly 400 residents of the Moore-Hill dormitory were evacuated Friday night while hazardous materials crews sanitized the area where the substance was found.

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